“Rated PG, for non-stop frenetic animated action.”
Rarely have the MPAA spoken truer words than that – crack open the highly-caffeinated, carbonated beverages, tuck into those sugary snacks and sit through the equivalent of eight straight Powerpuff Girls episodes. Preceded in theatres by a startlingly unfunny Dexter’s Laboratory cartoon, the weakness here is the obvious one of translating a ten-minute TV show to feature length; going by the lack of a crowd when we saw it, few people saw the point of paying $8 for what they could get at home for free. Though this is actually less like eight episodes than one, really stretched out, covering the creation of the girls and how they came to be Townsville’s protector, taking on former lab monkey Mojo Jojo and his evil plot to take over the world through the creation of super-powered simians.
If the above seems breathless and short of full stops – so is the movie. It’s at its best when riffing off pop culture, with a host of Planet of the Apes and King Kong references – I was really expecting an “It was the beauties that killed the beast…” line at the end. The animation is rarely any better than the TV show, but this is mostly a stylistic decision and there are occasional more advanced techniques such as a CGI ball which are used effectively.
Otherwise, it’s largely business as usual, with the tiny heroic trio coming to terms with their superpowers, Bubbles sniffling a lot, etc. It’s just rolled out at greater length, e.g. a hyperdestructive game of tag which might last 30 seconds on TV, goes on here for what seems an eternity (but was probably only five minutes – blame the caffeine). And this is the problem. As the pile of dire Saturday Night Live movies shows, what works great in short bursts often becomes, if not tedious, merely average when extended to feature length.
Creator: Craig McCracken
Star (voice): Cathy Cavadini, Tara Strong, E.G.Daily, Roger L. Jackson